A planned gift is an investment in the future of your favorite charity or charities that ensures the means to continue that charities mission into the future. Donors are encouraged to make a bequest in a Will or Living Trust to benefit the charity of their choosing.
Why a Planned Gift?
Planned giving offers a wide variety of benefits to you as you plan to accomplish your charitable and financial goals. Benefits may include: personal satisfaction in providing for the continued mission of your favorite charity or charities; income tax savings; avoidance of capital gain tax or federal estate tax; reduction in the administrative costs of settling your estate; a reminder to your heirs of your dedication to your favorite charity or charities.
What is a Bequest?
A bequest is a gift made through a Will or Living Trust. Bequests normally assume one of three forms, Specific Bequests, Residuary Bequests, or Contingent Bequests.
1. Specific bequests give a sum of money or specific items of property. For example your Will might read “$10,000 to the American Cancer Society” or “my house to the Helen Woodward Animal Center”.
2. Residuary bequests are paid from the remainder of your estate after all specific bequests have been paid. For example, your Will might read “10% of the rest of my estate to the SPCA of San Diego”.
3. A contingent bequest means that the distribution will happen only under certain circumstances. For example, your Will might read “I leave my entire estate to my husband, John Smith, if he survives me; but if he predeceases me, then I give my entire estate to Wounded Warrior Project”.
What do I Need to Decide?
First, you will need to decide whether you want to make a specific, residuary, or contingent bequest. Your attorney can advise you of the pros and cons of each. Next, you should decide whether your bequest will be unrestricted or restricted. An unrestricted gift gives your favorite charity or charities the flexibility to use funds where the need is greatest. A restricted bequest may be to a specific program such as community education at Hospice of San Diego.
What if my Estate Plan is Already Done?
If you have already done your Will or Living Trust, it is easy to add what is called a Codicil or Amendment. Think of it as a “P.S.” An attorney experienced in estate planning should be consulted to assist you in performing these revisions.
Sample Bequest Language
The sample language that follows is provided as a guide for you and your attorney:
Specific Dollar Amount: “I give, devise, and bequeath to My Favorite Charity located at _____________, San Diego, California, tax identification number: _______________, the sum of ___________Dollars ($___________) for its general uses and purposes”.
Specific Percentage: “I give, devise, and bequeath to My Favorite Charity located at _____________, San Diego, California, tax identification number: _______________, an amount equal to _________Percent (__%) of the value of my (gross or net) estate at the time of my death for its general uses and purposes”.
Residual Bequest: “I give, devise, and bequeath to My Favorite Charity located at _____________, San Diego, California, tax identification number: _______________, all of the residue of my estate, both real and personal, for its general uses and purposes”.
Contingent Bequest: “If the above-named beneficiaries should predecease me, then I give, devise, and bequeath to My Favorite Charity located at _____________, San Diego, California, tax identification number: _______________, all of my property and estate, both real and personal, for its general uses and purposes”.
Your bequest will serve as a lasting memorial to your dedication to the mission of your favorite charity or charities. If you have the intent to make a bequest to charity and would like assistance, please contact us and we can assist you with your bequest.
BIO: James Cunningham is an attorney with The Lawyer in Blue Jeans Group, practicing in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust Administration, Probate, Business Planning, and Tax law. Mr. Cunningham can be reached at (619) 683-2545 or firstname.lastname@example.org